Staff Profiles

Nathan Gouwens, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist

Nathan Gouwens joined the Allen Institute in 2014 as a Scientist I in the Modeling, Analysis, and Theory group. He is currently involved with developing biophysically detailed simulations of individual neurons in the mouse visual cortex. These simulations are based on combined electrophysiological and morphological data with the goal of determining how biophysical mechanisms shape the processing of visual information in cortex. Before joining the Allen Institute, Nathan was a graduate student in the lab of Rachel Wilson at Harvard Medical School. His graduate research involved analyzing how electrical signals propagated in the early olfactory circuit in Drosophila through a combination of electrophysiological experiments and computational models. Nathan received his PhD in Neurobiology from Harvard University, an MPhil in Biological Sciences from the University of Cambridge, and a BA in Integrated Science and Biological Sciences at Northwestern University.


Research Interests

Nathan Gouwens is studying how biophysical mechanisms influence the processing of visual information by cortical neurons through the development of detailed simulations. These biophysical models are based on electrophysiological measurements of intrinsic properties as well as detailed morphologies, which can also serve as building blocks for larger-scale network simulations. The aims are to integrate diverse data to reproduce experimentally-observed features of neuronal activity and to gain insights into how different biophysical mechanisms interplay to shape the role a neuron plays in visual circuits.


  • Computational neuroscience
  • Biophysical modeling
  • Electrophysiology

Research Programs

  • Modeling, Analysis and Theory

Selected Publications

BioNet: A Python interface to NEURON for modeling large-scale networks

August 2, 2018

Gratiy SL, Billeh YN, Dai K, Mitelut C, Feng D, Gouwens NW, Cain N, Koch C, Anastassiou CA, Arkhipov A

Classification of electrophysiological and morphological types in mouse visual cortex

July 17, 2018

Gouwens NW, Sorensen SA, Berg J, Lee C, Jarsky T, Ting J, Sunkin S, Feng D, Anastassiou C, Barkan E, Bickley K, Blesie N, Braun T, Brouner K, Budzillo A, Caldejon S, Casper T, Castelli D, Chong P, Crichton K, Cuhaciyan C, Daigle T, Dalley R, Dee N, Desta T, Dingman S, Doperalski A, Dotson N, Egdorf T, Fisher M, de Frates RA, Garren E, Garwood M, Gary A, Gaudreault N, Godfrey K, Gorham M, Gu H, Habel C, Hadley K, Harrington J, Harris J, Henry A, Hill D, Josephsen S, Kebede S, Kim L, Kroll M, Lee B, Lemon T, Liu X, Long B, Mann R, McGraw M, Mihalas S, Mukora A, Murphy GJ, Ng L, Ngo K, Nguyen TN, Nicovich PR, Oldre A, Park D, Parry S, Perkins J, Potekhina L, Reid D, Robertson M, Sandman D, Schroedter M, Slaughterbeck C, Soler-Llavina C, Sulc J, Szafer A, Tasic B, Taskin N, Teeter C, Thatra N, Tung H, Wakeman W, Williams G, Young R, Zhou Z, Farrell C, Peng H, Hawrylycz MJ, Lein E, Ng L, Arkhipov A, Bernard A, Phillips J, Zeng H, Koch C

Generalized leaky integrate-and-fire models classify multiple neuron types

Nature Communications
February 19, 2018

Teeter C, Iyer R, Menon V, Gouwens N, Feng D, Berg J, Szafer A, Cain N, Zeng H, Hawrylycz M, Koch C, Mihalas S

Systematic generation of biophysically detailed models for diverse cortical neuron types

Nature Communications
February 19, 2018

Gouwens NW, Berg J, Feng D, Sorensen SA, Zeng H, Hawrylycz MJ, Koch C, and Arkhipov A

Visual physiology of the Layer 4 cortical circuit in silico

PLoS Computational Biology
November 12, 2018

Arkhipov A, Gouwens NW, Billeh YN, Gratiy S, Iyer R, Wei Z, Xu Z, Berg J, Buice M, Cain N, da Costa N, de Vries S, Denman D, Durand S, Feng D, Jarsky T, Lecoq J, Lee B, Li L, Mihalas S, Ocker GK, Olsen SR, Reid RC, Soler-LLavina G, Sorensen SA, Wang Q, Waters J, Scanziani M, Koch C

Synchronization of firing in cortical fast-spiking interneurons at gamma frequencies: a phase-resetting analysis

PLoS Computational Biology
September 30, 2010

Gouwens NW, Zeberg H, Tsumoto K, Tateno T, Aihara K, Robinson HP

Signal propagation in Drosophila central neurons

Journal of Neuroscience
May 13, 2009

Gouwens NW, Wilson RI

Sensory processing in the Drosophila antennal lobe increases reliability and separability of ensemble odor representations

Nature Neuroscience
November 10, 2007

Bhandawat V, Olsen SR, Gouwens NW, Schlief ML, Wilson RI